Archive for the ‘Holy Days’ Category

On this festival day, the Feast of the Transfiguration, it is a good time to lay aside the bitter political contest we find our nation locked in, and reach for the fundamental truth of this incredible moment. Today, we are called beyond the notion that the truth revealed in the Transfiguration is a mere toy for theologians or so profound that only for mystics can encounter it. We are challenged to consider whether we are experiencing transformation in our own daily lives. Each of is invited to journey up the mountain through prayer and encounter with Christ.  On the Mount of the Transfiguration (Tabor), Christ Jesus revealed before mortal eyes the Transcendent Truth of who He is, and who Ss. Peter, James and John-and each one of us- will become in Him. Just as they were invited to embrace the path that He had prepared. So are we, in this very moment.

O GOD, who on the mount didst reveal to chosen witnesses thine only-begotten Son wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistering; Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may be permitted to behold the King in his beauty, who with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.transfiguration

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Today’s feast, known originally as the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord is a relatively ancient celebration. The Church at Jerusalem observed the feast as early as the first half of the fourth century, and likely earlier. The feast celebrates the presentation of Christ in the temple at Jerusalem on the 40th day after His birth.

Inspired by the words of the canticle (“a light to lighten the Gentiles”), by the 11th century, the custom had developed in the West of blessing candles on the Feast of the Presentation. The candles were then lit, and a procession took place through the darkened church while the Canticle of Simeon was sung. Because of this, the feast also became known as Candlemas. While the procession and blessing of the candles is not often performed in the United States today, Candlemas is still an important feast in many European countries, and we should look to recovering this great feast day this side of the pond.

O Lord Christ, yourself the temple of the heavenly city, and its light, and its surpassing splendor; Grant thatwe who in this earthly house offer to you our worship, may be brought in peace to the vision of your glory in heaven; where, with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, now and ever. Amen.

This morning’s sung Matins at St. Alban’s had some estraordinary hymns in addition to our readings from the Church Fathers. In addition to the Nunc Dimittis, our office hymn was the Plainchant version of  Templi sacratas pande (Mode II):Plainchant



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Circumcision_PicEach year when I celebrate the Feast of the Circumcision, I am asked some variant of, “What’s up with this feast day?  Isn’t that kind of gross?”  For some reason, the modern mind, which is saturated with some pretty “earthy” images (and that’s just on awards programs), recoils at the mere mention of the circumcision of Christ.  I suppose I don’t understand the squeamishness, unless it is part of a general unease with a Christ Jesus who is too human, too real. Many would prefer a less vivid way to begin the year like commemorating the Holy Name, and avoiding all of that  messy blood spilling stuff.

Indeed, the modern secularist likes their Jesus hazy and indistinct, to the extent they pay any attention to Him at all.  A genuinely Incarnate Christ present in history might be evidence that all of that Christian stuff is true.  The God-Man is personal, all to real and might grow up to make claims upon a person, perhaps even call a soul to obedience and repentance in a very real way.  That’s precisely the point of marking this feast day.

There is a multi-layered theological message to this day.  One can approach it from the perspective of a fulfilling of the Old Law and the obedience inherent in a Bris. There is also a prefiguring of the shedding of blood that will result in mankind’s redemption at Calvary-a kind of first shedding of blood by Christ for us.  We are reminded that the shadow of the Cross falls across the Christmas Crib.  Well and good. These are powerful thoughts for the first day of a new year of our Lord 2016.

But, there is something much deeper that relates to the transformation of a Christian life.  It is the “circumcision of the heart”, the cutting away of sin that must accompany the truly transformed life in Christ.  To use a new year’s metaphor, it is out with the old in a visceral sense, and in with the new.  This morning’s Breviary readings address this in a  “Sermon by St. Ambrose the Bishop“:

So the Child is circumcised.  This is the Child of whom it is said: Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: or again: Made under the Law to redeem them that were under the Law: or again: To present him to the Lord.  In my commentary on Isaiah I have already explained what is meant by being presented to the Lord in Jerusalem, and therefore I will not enter into the subject again.  He that is circumcised in heart gaineth the protection of God, as it is written: The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous.  Ye will see that as all the ceremonies of the Old Law were types of realities in the New Law, so the circumcision of the body signified the cleansing of the heart from the guilt of sin.

But since the body and mind of man remain yet infected with a proneness to sin, the circumcision of the eighth day is meant to put us in mind of that complete cleansing from sin which we shall have at the resurrection. …

Today as we make (and possibly break) our new year’s resolutions, let’s take the message of this Feast of the Circumcision literally to heart and renew our work of circumcising from it the hardness of sin and look toward that complete cleansing-the washing that can only come by His most precious blood.

A blessed 2016 to all!

ALMIGHTY God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; Grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that, our hearts, and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through time same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Vigil of All Saints-October 31st-Noon
All Saints-November 1st-6:30 pm

All Souls-November 2nd-6:30 pm

Those wishing commemorations should contact the parish office before 2:00 pm on November 1st.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Last Supper-Passion of the Christ

Our Holy Week devotions continue with collects for Maundy Thursday from Canon E. Milner-White’s Procession of Passion Prayers.

This evening’s services begin with the Washing of Feet and Mass at 6:30 followed by the Stripping of the Altar and Repose of the Blessed Sacramentat the conclusion of the Mass.  The Church will remain open for those who wish to keep Vigil before the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose which will be located in the Penance Chapel.

Confessions are being heard in the hour before each scheduled service today and on Good Friday.

Blessings of Maundy Thursday,

Canon Nalls

The Bonds

O CHRIST, the Lord of life, who madest thyself prisoner unto death: Deliver us from the bonds of sinful habit, and from every dungeon in which thy praise is forgotten; to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be all majesty and dominion, world without end. Amen.


 O ETERNAL FATHER, whose blessed Son, even in the fierce tumult of arrest, turned to heal the wounded enemy: Save us from taking the swords of wrath or hate, lest we perish by them; but arm us always with the holy and healing Spirit of the same Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Spirit, one GOD, world without end.  Amen.


O LORD JESUS CHRIST, Son of the living God, whose disciples forsook and forswore thee, so that alone in thy pains thou didst redeem us Give faith to the lonely and the beset, that they may know the Friend who never departeth; nor, abiding, faileth to bless who art with the Father, and the Holy Spirit, one Saviour, one GOD, world without end.  Amen.


O LORD JESUS CHRIST, look upon us with those eyes of thine wherewith thou didst look upon Peter in the hall, That with Peter we may repent and, by thy same love, be forgiven.

O Lord Jesus Christ, turn thy face from our sins, but turn it not from us, for thine endless mercies’ sake.  Amen.

* A cento from Bp. Andrewes Preces Privatae;  Ps. 51;  and Christina Rossetti Face of the Deep.


 O LORD JESUS CHRIST, who, bound and alone, didst proclaim the Messiah before the High Priest and elders of thy people Make plain, we beseech thee, the perpetual truth amid the transient show; and open our ears to hear, our eyes to perceive, and our lips to declare, that thou with the Father and the Holy Ghost art one only eternal and glorious GOD, world without end. Amen.


  KEEP us, O Lord God, from hasty excuse when the semblance of a fault is charged upon us that rather we may be silent with thy holy and unreprovable Son, who when he was reviled, reviled not again; and when he suffered, threatened not; but committed himself unto thee, the only righteous and true judge with whom he liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one GOD, now and evermore. Amen.


JESUS our Lord and our God, who gavest thy cheek to the smiters, and for our sake wast filled full with reproach: Grant us to learn of thee who art meek and lowly of heart, and after the example of thy sufferings, to be patient in bearing our own; for thy holy Name’s sake. Amen.


O LORD JESUS CHRIST, Son of the living God, who wast silent when they befouled the pure beauty of thy countenance with spitting: Save us from the sin of scorning a brother, lest in him we defile also the image of thy glory; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one GOD, world without end. Amen.

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On this Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, all on the staff here at Saint Albans wish you and yours every blessing of Christmas and for the New Year:

Eternal God, who makest all things new, and abidest for ever the same; Grant us to begin this year in thy faith, and to continue it in thy favour; that, being guided in all our doings, and guarded all our days, we may spend our lives in thy service, and, finally, by thy grace, attain the glory of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Christ,

The Very Rev. Canon Charles H. Nalls, Dean and Rector
The Rev. Carleton Clarke, Priest-Associate
The Rev. Mr. Robert McMillion, Curate
Mr. Bernard Riley, Music Director
Ms. Simone Rhodd, Parish Administrator

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An English Lady

Today marks the Feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, the commoration of the apparition of Mary in a vision to Richeldis de Faverches, a devout Saxon noblewoman, in 1061 in the village of Walsingham in Norfolk, England. Lady Richeldis had a Holy House built in Walsingham which has become a shrine and place of pilgrimage to Anglicans and Roman Catholics alike.

Magnificat. St. Luke i. 46.
My soul doth magnify the Lord, * and my
spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded * the
lowliness of his handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth * all
generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath magnified
me; * and holy is his Name.
And his mercy is on them that fear him *
throughout all generations.
He hath showed strength with his arm; * he
hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, * and hath exalted the humble and meek.
He hath filled the hungry with good things; * and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel; * as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end, Amen.

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